Mattis visits China as tensions mount over militarization, trade, and Taiwan

The U.S. Treasury Department is crafting rules that would block firms with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying U.S. companies involved in "industrially significant technology", the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. On Monday morning, however, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted that the WSJ report was "fake news" and said the policy being prepared by the Treasury Department "will be out not specific to China, but to all countries that are trying to steal our technology".

The CBOE Volatility index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, spiked to its highest level in almost a month. Facebook Inc dropped 2.7 percent, Inc fell 3.1 percent, Netflix Inc slid 6.5 percent, and Alphabet Inc lost 2.6 percent.

Other companies likely to feel the impact of recent USA tariffs on imported steel which raise costs for manufacturers, and the counter-measures by China which may hit US exports, include heavy machinery maker Caterpillar and aircraft maker Boeing.

The recent imposition of import tariffs by the US, and counter-measures by other countries, are also starting to affect global production and supply chains. Among big US movers, Intel Corp. fell 3.4 per cent, Visa Inc. fell 3.2 per cent and Boeing Co. fell 2.2 per cent.

Most economists warn that tariffs, including ones the USA has imposed on foreign steel and aluminium, are disrupting supply chains and risk discouraging investment and hiring.

Harley-Davidson, the dominant player in the USA motorcycle market said on Monday it would not pass on the cost of European Union tariffs to customers and instead focus on shifting some US production to other countries.

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Europe and China will form a group aimed at updating global trade rules to address technology policy, government subsidies and other emerging complaints in a bid to preserve support for worldwide commerce, the vice president of the European Union's governing body said Monday.

"Both parties agreed to oppose unilateralism and protectionism in trade relations", said Chinese Vice Prime Minister Liu He after a meeting with the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen in Beijing.

"The United States is insisting that all countries that have placed artificial Trade Barriers and Tariffs on goods going into their country, remove those Barriers & Tariffs or be met with more than Reciprocity by the U.S.A".

But trade policy advisor Navarro, the administration's harshest China critic, has advocated a far more confrontational approach with Beijing.

The administration could expand existing authorities for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which is led by the Treasury and which already has blocked some Chinese investments in ports and semiconductors. The administration is still debating some aspects of the new investment restrictions that are set to be announced on Friday, a government official said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,252.80, down 328.09 points or 1.3 per cent.

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